Waymo secures $ 2.5 billion in the last round of investment.
Once again, Waymo is flush with funding.
The autonomous driving technology company said on Wednesday it added an additional $ 2.5 billion to its coffers in its latest round of investment. The new round comes just over a year after the company raised $ 3 billion in its first round of external funding.
Much has changed in the meantime. Waymo extended testing of robotaxis without human standby pilots last October. He saw the departure of CEO John Krafcik in April. This month, the company added another key partner, logistics company JB Hunt, as the industry turns to trucking as the first application of business autonomy.
Given the steady pace of change, the company’s current management team sees this additional investment as a sign that Waymo remains on track.
“Their vote of confidence is very important to us at this point,” said Tekedra Mawakana, one of Waymo’s two co-CEOs. Automotive News. “We feel very well positioned in this consolidating industry as a business with real real world services, currently being used by real customers.”
Waymo did not disclose the valuation of the company. Investment firm Morgan Stanley estimated its value at $ 105 billion in September 2019.
The same companies that participated in Waymo’s first round of funding participated in the last one, the company said. These are AutoNation and global supplier Magna International, as well as Waymo’s parent company Alphabet, the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, Mubadala Investment Co., Fidelity Management & Research. Co., Perry Creek Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. and Global Technology. Silver Lake investment firm, which led the first round. The only newcomer to the group is Tiger Global Management.
Mawakana said the cycle has been oversubscribed and Waymo has been wise in accepting additional funding.
The money will be used to bolster a workforce of over 2,000 and further develop the company’s fifth-generation autonomous driving system. This system is installed on Class 8 trucks tested in the Phoenix area and most recently along Interstate 45 in Texas, in conjunction with the company’s emerging partnership with JB Hunt.
Waymo’s fifth-generation driver, which is an enhanced suite of sensors and software, has also been adapted for the company’s fleet of Jaguar I-Pace electric vehicles currently being tested in San Francisco. While the company has been leading there in one way or another since its beginnings as a Google Project, it has increased its presence in San Francisco from February.
Beyond its formative business operations in Chandler, Arizona, San Francisco will in all likelihood be the next location the company begins with Waymo One ridesharing operations. But the calendar of descaling operations is not yet engraved on the calendar.
“We are going as fast as possible while respecting our safety principles,” said co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov. “It will be gradual. It will not be overnight. But we are taking this step to prepare for the next chapter of our journey.”
With its mature robotaxi and freight transportation technology and plans, Waymo ranked first out of 15 autonomous technology companies analyzed in Guidehouse Insights’ annual automated driving rankings released in Q2 2021.
The initial funding round “is supposed to be tied to the recognition that a large deployment of VAs is not imminent,” analyst Sam Abuelsamid wrote in the ranking report. With the final lap, Waymo will have an additional track to continue its extensive testing on the long way to these widespread deployments.
“To us that sounds like a big boost,” Mawakana said. “It’s an opportunity to keep moving forward.”